Kids don’t necessarily understand or respect property boundaries — particularly if there’s something within that boundary that is tempting or interesting. In premises liability law, that’s called an “attractive nuisance.”
Whether something is considered an attractive nuisance by the courts is important if a child (or even a teen) is injured on property where they were technically trespassing. When a property owner has what’s considered an attractive nuisance, they have a responsibility to take steps to protect people from becoming injured by it.
Perhaps the most common example of an attractive nuisance is a swimming pool. However, some machinery, pathways, stairs, tunnels, wells and animals are also examples. Even if a property owner doesn’t consider something like a chimney an attractive nuisance, a court may. If the neighborhood kids have a habit of climbing up on roofs and trying to go down chimneys, property owners could possibly be held liable for not making their yards or their roofs difficult to access.
Generally, attractive nuisances need to be manmade things that a property owner maintains. That typically excludes things like lakes and ponds. However, if a homeowner has a koi pond on their property with little or no barrier to it, it’s possible they could be held liable under the attractive nuisance doctrine for a child’s injuries.
There are a lot of variables, as you can see, in determining whether a property owner can be held liable for injuries suffered by a young person who was on their property without permission. If your child was injured by what you would consider an attractive nuisance, consult with an attorney to determine what your legal options are.